Zeiss Sonnar fakes from Russia

planar_user

New Member
I see Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar "copies" (1.5-50 and 2/85) on ebay which looks alot like Jupiter-3 oder Jupiter-9 (alloy-body, M39 LTM). Is there a mass-production of "Carl Zeiss Jena" (including the red "T") front-rings somewhere ..?

How do they differ? Other scale ("m" and "." instead of "M" and ",")? You know other signs?

I understand, after WW-2 the Russians decomposed lots of Jena optics for reparation and maybe confiscated lots of lenses. Maybe they also confiscated parts and did the final assembly in Russia.

I will not doubt the optical performance of the J-3 or J-9 which are legal copies of the Carl Zeiss pre-war lenses. But fake re-labeling in the present is another story. If a plain Jupiter-9 is worth 60 USD, why should I pay 180 for the same lense with a fake label?

regards,
Harry
 
D

drechor

Don't forget that the Jena lenses were made out of aluminum, just like the Russian lenses. This doesn't mean that the glass is bad/Russian quality (which are not always one and the same thing).

If it says Carl Zeiss Jena, it almost definitely is. I'd go by what Gandy at cameraquest says-- for ex&le, both the East and West German 50/1.5s are supposed to be 'outstanding', while certain other lenses might vary in quality from West to East.

If it says 'copy' on the auction and has cyrillic characters, then it is probably a lens made for the Kievs and not Contaxes. These are different from the Jenas.

André
 
S

solienear

Hallo,
the russian Jupiter 3 and 9 is not a copie of Carl Zeiss Sonnar its the same produced under supervision in first period with Zeiss workers in KIEV. The original Carl Zeiss Jena 1:2/85mm gives in many typ: messing, aluminium,slim version, East-and West -Germany produktion. All russian lenses are coatet not with german "T" but with russian cyrillig"P". All russian KIEV lenses work with first Contax(Dresden) and post war Contax IIa and IIIa from Stuttgart West-Germany.
It's not true the russian lens is bad.
In my 2,0/85mm Sonnar Version the Stuttgart Sonnar is bed, and the best in optical quality is the Carl Zeiss Jena (East) Sonnar, and the second the Jupiter 9 with minimal different.
But in mechanical is the 1.5/50mm Sonnar from Stuttgart West-Germany is the best, the have two"Blendenringe" inside the optic. The russian 1,5/50mm without this, but the optical it the same.
The KIEV and Jupiter are not copies this produces with original machines from Germany Dresden)for worl war "Reparationsleistungen" for russia.
Many greetings from Germany
peter müller
 

superwide

Member
I have examined many German and Russian made lenses for the Contax RF mount. My experience with the optical performance of these lenses generally is that the German made lenses are highly superior to the Russian lenses. While it is true that the initial production of the Russian made copies of the German designs was under the supervision of the Zeiss Jena factory German workers using the stolen German machines the actual product was not the same. There are many good reasons for this. The first and foremost is that the Germans in Russia were effectively slaves working under very bad conditions. Just as importantly the optical glass used in the Russian copies was not Schott optical glass. It was Russian made glass. The other materials used to produce the lenses was also not of the same qualtiy as was available in Germany. These include the grinding and polishing abraisives and compouds. Perhaps most importantly to lens making the Russians did not keep their factories as clean as the Germans did. So I find it to be entirely reasonable that the German lenses and the Russian copies would differer in their optical performance. I also find there is a much greater variation in the optical and mechanical quality of the Russian lenses than there is in the German made ones. In general I think it is safe to say that the German lenses were of consistent quality whereas the Russian ones are of inconsistent quality. The reason for this is that all Russian industrial production was centrally controlled and each individual worker was working under a quota system that guaranteed that most of the work got done at the end of the reporting period. Finally, I find that all of the Russian lenses that I service are filthy dirty inside and that this is dirt that was introduced during manufacture due to a filty working environment. The German lenses are always full of deteriorated grease (very high quality), but contain no extraneous dirt and debris. So it is clear to me that the Russian lenses were made by people who, from top to bottom, didn't care about the quality of the product whereas the Germam lenses were made by people who cared a great deal about the quality of their product and who wanted badly to make the best that could be made. I also find that the exterior quailty of the Russian lens metal work is very high compared to the internal quality which is very low. It seems to me a lot of thought went into the Russian lens manufacturing process to ensure the lenses would look good from the outside. The German lenses, even the ones made in Jena when the war was going very bad for them, are top quality inside and out. Finaly there is the lubricant. Russian lens lubricant is a stinking rotten oxidized mess even when it is new. It is a compliment to call it crude. I am absolutely certain that no one anywhere would ever purchase a Russian made lens if they could taste the deep old rotten oil well smell that comes out of a Russian made lens when it is opened.
Now with regard to the Russian ability to make very passable modern copies of Zeiss equipment I can merely say this. About three years ago I attended a large camera show at which there was a Russian seller with a table load of recently made Leica fakes. On this table was a copy of the Leica Reporter (a $25,000 camera when it is real). At another table was a real Leia reporter and so we were able to compare the real with the fake. I learned from this comparision that there is very little they cannot fake so that it will fool completely without being taken apart.
 
S

solienear

Hallo,
it's incredible Henry write "stolen German machines". It's roll 260 amerikan Trucks from Carl Zeiss Jena to West-Germany Stuttgart. Is this machines and heads stolen from amerikan military?
Please Henry read the "Potsdamer Abkommen" for reparation in 4 allied military rules.
What is "effektiv slave work" ?
That the Zeiss Workers find very bad condition is true, but the war strategie from germans is totally destroy plants in russia under the word "Verbrannte Erde" a idea from Adolf Hitler.
And only East- Germany have reparation cost and work under extremly conditions for russia.
Henry it's not good for a clear looking transport ideological from cold war every and every times.
And what ist this:
"russian copies was not schott optical glasses"
Have you never seen a Zeiss Novar this made from Rodenstock without schott glasses?
The russian glasses are ok I find not a different to Carl Zeiss Jena or Zeiss Opton in quality.
But the mechanical question is a other tale and the inconsistent quality.
All of this is not a reason to russian contax/kiev and optics are a copie.
A copie producer, for ex&le cameras, watches, etc. have not original machines, that is the reason the Rollei 35 made in singapore is not a copie.
sorry for my lausy english
Many greetings from Germany
 

superwide

Member
The German machines which were taken from Jena using American transport stayed in Germany and went to Oberkocken where many of them are now still working and providing income and benefits to the German People as they did when they were in Jena. I cannnot understand how anyone could consider them to be stolen. The German machines which went to Russia are still in Russia now being used to engrave the bezels of lenses that read "Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar" which are fakes. I have serviced and examined many German made Sonnars and many Russian made "Sonnars". I only buy German made Sonnars for myself and this is my opinion of the Russian made fakes. I believe the Russian made lenses are optically, mechanically, and materially inferior to the genuine German made lenses. It doesn't do any good to grind a perfect element if it is not going to be centered properly. Nor does it do any good to put together a fine lens and then put it into a barrel with helical focusing threads that are cut wrong. It's no good if you make a lens that has four out of five aspects of it made perfectly and then have the fifth be a ruin. The Germans understood that all aspects of a lens had to be of the utmost quality whereas the Russians made theirs under a quota system. The Germans taken to Russia to work in the Kiev works were there against their will. Most of them never got home and died there. The Russians are capable of optical work of the utmost quality. I do not understand why they are not producing top quality products for the current market. I do not understand why they need to resort to the making of falsely labeled products. It would seem to me to be better to make one good $300.00 lens than to make ten $30.00 fakes. If the Russians were to manufacture a 35mm f2.8 Biogon of a quality equal to that of the Zeiss made original they would have no problem selling as many as they could make for $400.00. And they are capable of doing this. But instead they flood the market with lenses of a design which is not a Biogon design, but which they call a Biogon, and have trouble selling them for $30.00. It would seem to me that the least they could do would be to use the machines they took from Germany to make lenses that are as least as good as were made by them when they were in Germany.
 

planar_user

New Member
I'm not complaining that the clearly labelled "Jupiter-3" oder "Jupiter-9" are copies of the Sonnars 1.5-50 or 2-85. Former Soviet Union had a right to copy them due to allied rules. Nikon or Canon did the same. I have a very nice Canon 1.5-50 Sonnar clone made of brass. Cost me 200 USD. But there is "Canon" engraved in the front-ring, not "Carl Zeiss Jena"!

I will not complain about russian lenses in general, *if* they are clearly marked. I found several "Carl Zeiss Jena" lenses on the market (ebay), looking very much like "war sonnars" (alumnium body) which are obviously faked Jupiter lenses with changed front ring, and/or the engraving at the body "Made in Germany".

Obviously the quality of Carl Zeiss Jena lenses become more badly during the war, i.e. changing the body from brass to alumninium. So there is a problem to distinguish a war lens Carl Zeiss from a faked Russian Jupiter lens with front ring change. I heard the focussing ring of German lenses has a "m" whereas Russian lenses are "M". Other known details?
 
D

drtomm

After reading Herald Schmidt's post about the M&m-s, I checked my Contax lenses: a Zeiss-Opton Sonnar 50mm f2 says "Made in Germany", while a Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 5cm f1.5 does not say anything.

Henry Scherer's posts bear re-reading!
 
S

solienear

Hello,
Zeiss- Opton is Made in West-Germany Oberkochen thats true.
The Carl Zeiss Jena lenses have a problem. In first period is engraved "Germany" and lens name, and later without this engraving. Carl Zeiss Jena loose a civilian justice process in the fiftys in united states court: Carl Zeiss Jena versus Zeiss-Opton for name rights "Carl Zeiss". The looser Carl Zeiss Jena is absolut prohibition not engraved Carl Zeiss and the name ex&le Tessar, Sonnar, etc.
Many years later 1971 come a frienly agreement between Zeiss West and East.
peter müller
 
H

highlander

Hello Peter,

I am holding in my hands a CJZ Tessar in 42mm mount that is merely marked "T 2.8/50 aus Jena DDR". From my point of view that is great as I could buy it recently at a camera show for US$5 - bet the Zeiss and Tessar name would have added to the price.

Michael Schub
 
S

solienear

Hello,
concratulations for this fine lens.
Some CJZ lenses only "T"=Tessar or "S"=Sonnar engraved, and Jena DDR is resultet from this justice procedere from my posting.
But the red "T" standing for in german "Transparent" coatet lens. A Invention
from Zeiss worker Smakulla in the 30 years in
Carl Zeiss Jena Faktory.All Zeiss post war lenses
West-and East Germany have a red "T". In the sixties is coating for Zeiss lenses normaly and the engraved "T" fall out. Later in seventys engraved Zeiss a red "T"with * =T* for multicoatet lenses.
peter müller
 

superwide

Member
If anyone is interested in seeing a fake Biogon with a counterfeit Carl Zeiss Jena bezel take a look at Ebay auction no. 3808918084.
 

superwide

Member
The red flags are that when you hold this lens next to a Jupiter you see a great many similarities and when you hold it next to a real Carl Zeiss Jena Biogon you see a great many dissimilarities. One thing always to look for are the very large holding screws used by Russian lens makers versus the very small ones used by Zeiss. The big "M" is also a prominent tip off as is the letter style of the engraved letters. There have also been far too many really good looking Leica screwmount 85mm f4.0 Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnars on the Ebay market lately coming out of Russia.
 
S

solienear

Hello,
the first step for understanding is russian screw mount lens 85mm have not 1:4 its 1:2 /85mm.
The second step is russian lenses are not a copie from Carl Zeiss Jena but are clon.
It's a great legend russian lenses with engaved Carl Zeiss Jena produced or fake made in russia. The true is this lens maked fake in a Pole manufacture and russian cameras fakes ( Zorki and FED)with Leica engraved too.
The big "M" in russian lenses special KIEV Jupiter
is a click stop for diaphragm. A original developt from russian ingeneers for Zeiss /Leica clons with name "Jupiter".
Many greetings from Germany
peter müller
 
D

drtomm

Hello, Peter:
Most of us "Contax people" are quite familiar with the Russian Jupiter-9, which is indeed, as you say, a "clone" of the pre-war Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 85mm f2.0. Unfortunately, the quality of the Russian lenses is erratic and it does not always match that of the Zeiss Sonnars, but there are indeed some very good Jupiters around. I have a Jupiter 50mm f2.0 of 1959 vintage which easily holds its own against two of my best Zeiss Sonnars. However, what I personally object to, is the Russian forgery of Zeiss-labeled bezels and attempts to sell them as German made ones on eBay.
 
S

solienear

Hello Tom,
it's a same story: my jupiter 3 from 1959 and KIEV IV camera are very fine. But up on 1961 the quality goes down. A reason of much produktion the target from soviet oeconomic without quality for products.
P.S.
my best lens 2,0/50mm is a old Carl Zeiss prä-war Jena Sonnar 2,0/50mm collabsible and not coatet and diaphragm is to much oilet. Anywhere is my favorite lens with Contax IIIa and IIa and KIEV too.
On european continent my ears closer of the question what is fake and made for this, you can believed. On eBay this all lenses made from Germany that's true for high price. Here in Germany tell every man a russian seller on second hand market "it's a fake or not?" The russian seller say everything true:
"Yeas it's a fake" for Zorki/FED engraved LEICA on camera and lens made fake in Pole, but not for Jupiter or Orion lenses like a Zeiss Clone.This is for russian people a original made in russia. In other countrys or net hope any sellers find stupid buyer believe story behind from wood, mars, venus, or science fiction too.
 
D

drtomm

Hi, Peter:
Thank you for your contribution to the forum discussion. I am rather surprised that Russian sellers would owe up to the fakes, as you say. Most of the KIEVs presently for sale on eBay, however, come from the Ukraine. What is your feeling, where does the counterfeiting occur - in Russia or in the Ukraine? I think that your last paragraph lost something in the translation from German into English. I do read German. Please, feel free to contact me directly at
tommuhlstein@sympatico.ca
Thanks. Regards, Tom
 
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